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McNeill recipient of University of Waikato - Bay of Plenty Rugby Doctroal Scholarship

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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The University of Waikato alongside the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union are pleased to announce that Conor McNeill is the recipient for the University of Waikato – Bay of Plenty Rugby Union Doctoral Scholarship for 2018.

The Scholarship is designed to enhance the candidate’s understanding of Human Performance Science and Sport Technology skills as they relate to ‘rugby athlete performance’. This involves undertaking research which will support elite rugby athletes from the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union’s Provincial Competition and Development Squads.

Established in 2018, the Scholarship will support one Doctoral Candidate while they undertake Doctoral Research with the Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance (FHSHP) at the University of Waikato Adams Centre for High Performance based in Tauranga. For Conor the opportunity to work with supervisors who have dual roles with New Zealand’s top rugby teams, Dr Travis McMaster (All Blacks and Black Ferns Sevens Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach) and Associate Professor Nicholas Gill (All Blacks Strength and Conditioning Coach) is invaluable.

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union’s Head Strength and Conditioning Brad Mayo said the collaboration between Bay of Plenty Rugby Union and the University of Waikato to deliver the new Doctoral scholarship will be beneficial for the development of sport science within rugby.

“It’s awesome to have Conor on board with us for the next three years. Through the work from Bay of Plenty Rugby and University of Waikato, we have managed to create a relationship that will add plenty to the body of sport science in the rugby space.

“This is an exciting time for us. We are lucky enough to have Travis (McMaster) and Gilly (Nic Gill) involved as our supervisors. Both are leaders in rugby research being produced in New Zealand. This aligns with one of our goals to be innovative and continue to push the boundaries with physical preparation,” said Mayo.

Scholarship recipient Conor McNeill is looking forward to utilising his experience to further develop athletes within the Bay of Plenty.

“It is an honour to accept the University of Waikato - Bay of Plenty Rugby Union Doctoral Scholarship and I look forward to joining this team and organisation. My wife and I have been surrounded with support since we arrived from Seattle, USA and we are grateful for it. I am excited to apply what I have learned from my experiences working with top-level American football and Olympic athletes,” said McNeill.

McNeill was humbled by the willingness of the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union and University of Waikato staff who have worked collaboratively to develop the Scholarship.

“I would like to thank Mike Rogers, Clayton McMillan, and Brad Mayo as well as Kirsten Petrie, Travis McMaster, Martyn Beaven and Nic Gill for making this opportunity possible.”

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